The first 2021 NHL clash of Southern California went to the Anaheim Ducks as early goals from Danton Heinen and David Backes powered a 3-1 road victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.
It was the first time the local rivals squared off in a full year, going back to Feb. 1, 2020, when the Ducks earned a 3-1 victory in Los Angeles.
Tuesday’s game included a nod to that last matchup when Anaheim’s Nicolas Deslauriers and Los Angeles’ Kurtis MacDermid attempted to set the tone with a fight just as the game began. They also fought the last time the teams met.
Deslauriers had the last laugh when he scored an empty-net goal with 46 seconds remaining, his third tally of the season.
The Ducks struck first midway through the first period when Heinen scored his third of the season. Jakob Silfverberg had the puck poked away as he moved toward the Los Angeles goal, but it landed on the stick of Heinen, who scored past goalie Calvin Petersen.
The Ducks made it 2-0 a mere 17 seconds after the first intermission. Backes scored his first of the season after a no-look backhand pass by Carter Rowney from behind the goal.
The Kings cut the lead in half at 5:32 of the second period when Arthur Kaliyev scored in his NHL debut. The Kings went on a length-of-the-ice rush with Michael Amadio’s shot saved by Anaheim’s John Gibson. Kaliyev poked in the rebound.
Kaliyev became the second-youngest Kings player to score a goal at 19 years, 221 days. Anze Kopitar scored his first Kings goal at 19 years, 43 days in 2006. He is the 21st Kings player to score in his debut.
Gibson had 20 saves, rebounding from a tough back-to-back against the Blues. He was pulled in the third minute of the first game against St. Louis on Saturday after giving up three goals, and then lost the rematch Sunday when he gave up four more.
In his fourth game of the season for the Kings, Petersen made 40 saves.
The Kings were playing short-handed after defensemen Matt Roy and Sean Walker were injured Thursday against the Minnesota Wild.
–Field Level Media